5 Ways to Improve Your Content Writing Skills
Learning and growing is a natural part of life as a content writer. It’s a process that doesn’t just include doing research for your writing projects. While you may have excellent writing skills and a firm grasp of things like grammar, punctuation, and SEO, it never hurts to gain new insights or explore your options from a new perspective. Not only is this a good way to keep you motivated to do something you have a true passion for, but it can also make you more appealing to potential and current clients. Here are some tips for your consideration.
1. Keep Up With News Related to Your Niche
Don’t wait for assignments to start doing research or gathering new info specific to your niche. Even if you don’t have a new assignment from one of your steady clients yet, shoot them an email and let them know about any interesting articles you come across. They’ll likely appreciate the heads up. Plus, you might get a new writing assignment. Also, check for updates on topics you’ve written about previously; do a follow up if you can come up with something fresh.
2. Put Your Personality into Your Writing
If you’re not writing something that requires a serious or academic tone, like a highly detailed medical piece or a legal website that needs to be heavily fact-based, find ways to infuse your personality into your content. For instance, imagine you’re doing an article on trendy new Thai food spots. You can throw in some of your own experiences with that particular cuisine. Or maybe you’re doing an article about a pop culture topic or crafting a lifestyle piece. A touch of humor or wit could pique more interest. The point, look for appropriate opportunities to add some of your own personality to your content. After all, it’s part of what makes you unique as a writer.
3. Know When to Pass On Projects
If you’re just starting out as a content writer, there’s a temptation to take anything and everything that comes your way. Doing so could lead to needless frustration as you struggle with topics you don’t fully understand nor have an interest in writing about. You may also find yourself stressed with multiple deadlines. Learn how to pace yourself and select content projects you are really comfortable writing. The same goes with how many assignments you take on at once. You’re not likely to do your best writing if you’re juggling a bunch of articles that are due soon. If you tend to find yourself over-committing, try putting up a project board in your writing area to keep track of what you’re working on and when everything is due.
4. Develop Your Support Network
Building relationships with editors and clients is fine, but this shouldn’t be the extent of your support network. Start by exploring online forums to find other writers within your niche. Try looking for professional organizations for writers you might join; this looks good on your resume, too! On a related note, expand your network by reaching out to people who may become sources of inspiration or info. If you write about diet and lifestyle tips, for instance, why not talk to a dietician in your area to see what kinds of issues they deal with on a regular basis?
5. Strive for Higher Paying Assignments
There’s always a need for content, so there will always be platforms where you can find assignments. But not every writing assignment is worth your time and effort. Some so-called “content mills” pay practically nothing and demand a lot of work for your efforts. Trust yourself and your abilities; actively seek writing assignments that offer more compensation. Once you shift your focus away from cranking out one article after another and begin seeking out quality jobs, you’ll likely find yourself securing better-paying assignments you actually enjoy writing – and your confidence as writer is just as likely to improve.
Finally, don’t forget to take some time for yourself. Take a break between assignments when you can and get out of your writing cave. Finding the right work-life balance is definitely good for your mental and physical health. And when you’re out and about or hanging out with friends, you may make a few new observations, have some interesting experiences, or meet people who could inspire your future writing endeavors.
Ken is a freelance writer currently living in the Pittsburgh area of Pennsylvania. Born in California, his fondness for writing dates back to elementary school writing contests and led to positions on both high school and college newspapers. He earned a degree in Journalism and Communications from Point Park University and did work in data entry after college before transitioning to a full-time career as a freelance writer. While his areas of expertise are marketing and health-related content, Ken is a versatile writer and enjoys exploring and researching a variety of topics. When not busy knocking out articles, he likes to spend time with friends, go for walks, and discover new and exciting things about the world around him.